Memorial Day 2013 : “All Gave Some, Some Gave All”

Arlington, it’s one of the biggest cemeteries in the world, not to mention one of the most moving. It’s known as the final resting place for nearly 300,000 service men and counting. It is where the price of our freedom is perhaps the most obvious. The graves are well marked, the markers standing as if to create the final military formation. The lines perfect in every direction. However, Arlington is more than just a cemetery; it’s a hallowed ground, honoring the many men and women who have given their lives for the sake of their country.
Within the business of life, it’s easy to take our freedom for granted, but to a schoolteacher named Martha Cathren it’s a priority. On the first day of school at Joe .T. Robinson High in Little Rock, AR, students walked into Mrs. Cathren’s classroom expecting a typical first day of school. But to their surprise they found Mrs. Cathren’s classroom empty, not one desk in sight. One puzzled student asked, “Mrs. Cathren, where are the desks?” Mrs. Cathren replied and said, “You get a desk if you can tell how you can earn it.” One student said, “Mrs. Cathren, is it by making good grades that we get a desk in your class?” Mrs. Cathren replied saying, “You ought to make good grades in my class, but that won’t earn you a desk in my class?”
Another student said, “Is it by being on our best behavior in your class?” Mrs. Cathren then said, “You will behave in my class, but that won’t earn you a desk either!” All day long class after class kept asking, but no one could come up with the right answer, at the end of school, Mrs. Cathren invited all of her students into her classroom and said, “Since no one has been able to figure it out, I’ll tell you.” Martha opened the door of her classroom and in walked 27 veterans, some wearing uniforms from years gone by, but each one carrying a school desk.
As they carefully and quietly arranged the desks in neat rows, Martha said, “You don’t have to earn your desk…because these brave men already did. They along with thousands of others went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers, so we could have the freedom we have today. No one charged you for your desk, but it wasn’t really free. These men bought it for you.
My friends, the greatest lesson we can ever learn is the principle of Living to Serve. The next time you’re looking for an example of this lesson, think about Gettysburg, think about Vietnam, think about Arlington, but most of all, think about your desk and the price it cost. Just remember, that while All gave some, some gave All.

“The Oklahoma Tornado: Helping Hand”

“Devastating!” This is the word that so many reporters, journalists, and media outlets all over the country have used to describe the massive Tornado that ripped through the Heart of Oklahoma this past week. It’s hard to imagine the anguish, heartache, and sorrow that so many Oklahoma families have been feeling. Through this turmoil and tragedy it seemed to many people that all hope was lost, however, there is light among the darkness. People from all over our country have come together and assisted with the Tornado relief efforts, reaching out with helping hands and are still volunteering as we speak. It has truly been an amazing thing to hear of so many individuals giving of their time, effort, and schedules to make a difference in the lives of those who have been hurting. As you can see, Service is being displayed on a daily basis and I believe that the ability to make a difference in someone’s life starts within each of our hearts. We must choose to serve. We must choose to give. We must choose to lead and we must choose to reach out to others. In our society today, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about our own good rather than the good of others. And this is totally natural, because our human nature has a tendency to be selfish, but when we choose to make a difference, to care about others more than ourselves, to live for an impact and not just our own individualism, we can have a more meaningful life because we are living for the service of others. You see, Leadership doesn’t begin in the conversation, it starts with You and Me. It’s all about changing the Me to We. It is indeed very inspiring to hear so many stories from Moore, Oklahoma about people who are reaching out and giving unselfishly. Always remember that great moments are born from great opportunities. Ask yourself, “How can reach out to those who are hurting in my school, community, or even my world?” There are plenty of opportunities to go out and make a difference, but the question is, are we willing to reach out to others with these helping hands? Choose to Lead. Choose to Impact. Choose to Serve.

“Congrats! You’ve just Graduated!! So what are you going to do next?”

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It’s that time of year again-Graduation time. Whether you’re an 8th grader, High School Senior, or even graduating College, you are embarking on a new journey of your life. With this being said, one of the most commonly asked questions that graduates receive is, “What are you going to do next?” Now we all have different answers to this question, some of us are very certain of our future plans, however, a vast majority of graduates are still very uncertain of what their futures will entail. I just recently concluded some very busy weeks of speaking at banquets, graduations, assemblies, teacher in-services, and more, and although my presentations were different in their style, each of them revolved around this question of what will the future hold. You see, to those who are uncertain about their future in school, church, organizations, college, career, or just life in general, it can be easy to lose sight of your goals and become discouraged because you feel like you lack direction. But whether you know it or not, you were meant to be Visionary. You were called to do great things regardless of what people say. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 29:18 that without a vision, the people perish. You have to have a vision for your life. But many times we lack vision, because we allow things to get in our way. Life is a highway, with speed bumps, detours, and obstacles, but you can’t allow these things to get in the way of your destination. Sometimes you are going to have to go the extra mile to reach your vision. You have to be willing to go the distance, the Distance of your Destiny. But where does your destiny lie? What is your purpose in life? Do you have a vision for your life? These are all questions that everyone have asked themselves at some point in their life. Visionary people don’t worry about what’s ahead, but instead they prepare for it. I tell people that Worry ends where Faith begins. The whole idea behind being visionary is all about believing in one’s future. We all have people in our lives who have believed in us over the years, whether it was a parent, coach, Ag Teacher, friend, relative, etc, these people who recognized our potential in something and sought to bring that potential to it’s fullest. That, my friends, is called being Visionary. It’s being able to set great goals, believing in it’s attainability, and working hard to achieve them. It’s embracing the idea that you can help usher in greatness. You have a Future, a Future that is bright, but we have to be willing to picture that Future and strive to make that vision a reality. So the next time you are approached with the question of what are you going to do next? I encourage you to be visionary and say, “I plan on doing something Great!”